Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt
Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt
Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt
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Monroe Carell Jr.
Children's Hospital
at Vanderbilt
2200 Children's Way
Nashville, TN 37232

(615) 936-1000

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Newborn Screening for Cystic Fibrosis


The state of Tennessee screens newborns for cystic fibrosis at birth through the Tennessee Newborn Screening Program. Diagnosing CF early, before signs of the disease develop, allows us to closely monitor infants and begin therapies earlier. The CF team closely follows infants diagnosed with CF. This includes overseeing nutrition and respiratory care.

As part of the newborn screening program, a blood spot is obtained from infants after birth. To look for possible CF, the immunoreactive trypsinogen, or IRT, level is measured. If the IRT level is elevated on the first test, the state newborn screening program contacts families and providers to get a second test done at seven to 14 days. These tests are done through health departments and primary care providers.

If the second IRT is elevated, further testing will be recommended at a CF center to determine whether the infant has CF. An elevated IRT level is not harmful and is not a specific CF test. But elevated levels suggest that further testing for CF should be done.

Most infants with elevated IRTs do not have CF. However, because of the higher risk, further testing is important.

The Genetics Newborn Screening nurse will contact families and primary care providers to set up an appointment at the Cystic Fibrosis Diagnosis and Treatment Center. The visit to the CF center will include sweat chloride testing, a meeting with a genetics counselor, and an examination by CF nurse practitioner.

Last Edited: December 14, 2016
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